Search This Blog

Sunday, February 23, 2014

This and That

I've been reading The Seventh Child by Erik Valeur (winner of the 2012 Glass Key Award given by the members of the Crime Writers of Scandinavia for best Nordic Thriller) for days now.  It is an unusual, slowly paced, with multiple characters and gradually developed backgrounds, and it is very long.  I'm about 70% through the novel now, and things are beginning to come together.

   I'm not sure how I feel about the novel, it is not a page-turner or a thriller (in my view), and the jumping from character to character often seems abrupt.  The names and nick-names can also confuse.  Yet I've continued reading a little at a time each day without the desire to abandon it.  

Of course, it isn't the only book in progress, I'm also reading Sorrow Bound by David Mark.  This is the third in the Detective Sergeant Aector (Hector) McAvoy series, but the first I've read.  The characters are well-developed, and the mystery twists between two plot-lines. A dark police procedural, but engrossing.  

Some of the comments from the editor are still in the manuscript, and I find this intriguing.  She (the editor) reminds the author of small details--for instance, the use of a similar name in a previous novel.  An interesting example of close reading, not the literary criticism kind that analyzes a passage, but the noting of small details that can make a reader stop for a moment and consider the accuracy, similarity, or contradiction involved.  These intrusions in the manuscript are few, but I've enjoyed them.

Often in reading a novel, I'll have to skip back to see if the question that has occurred to me is a slip in the editing or whether I've just somehow failed to notice a detail earlier.  Name similarities often stand out to me as do repetitive phrases.  These details don't necessarily harm the story, and sometimes repeated phrases or motifs add to the novel.  Sometimes, however, I wish an editor had caught an annoying repetition of phrase.

Other novels in progress, but perhaps hopelessly stalled:  Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen, Paths of Courage by Mike Woodhams, What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin, and The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher.

Two other books that I'm also dipping into in between the above novels:  What's Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton, an essay-like book from blog posts Walton wrote for, and Signed, Sealed, and Delivered by Nina Sankovich.  The formatting on Signed is quite awful, but the chapters have interesting information about letters and letter-writers, some famous, some quite ordinary.  Two books that are easy to pick up and to put down, satisfied,  if I only have a few minutes to read.


  1. I have been really bad about starting and not finishing books this year. I put them aside to get back to and never seem to actually!

  2. Kelly - I know...but that says something, doesn't it? For whatever reason, the book isn't beating out the competition. :)

  3. You're almost there with The Seventh Child! Just a little more . . . I sometimes hate the feature on my Kindle that allows me to know what percentage I am at--I have a tendency to sigh with relief when I hit 50% even in books I am really enjoying. It's all downhill from there. Terrible, terrible.

    How interesting to be able to read the editor's notes as you read Sorrow Bound. I think I'd get a kick out of that too. :-)

    I'm hearing Lost Lake is proving a disappointment to a lot of readers. I still haven't read Garden Spells by Allen. I always say "this year" and then never get to it.

  4. Wendy - I've finished both of them. Didn't know if I was ever going to finish Seventh Child!

    Yes, the editor's note were actually a plus, not an interruption. :)

    Oh, I'm glad to know that not everyone is loving Lost Lake. I've been over half way through for a month, but have trouble caring about what happens.

  5. I'm totally stalled on some books too! Yours all sound very interesting though. How cool too that you get a glimpse at the editor's marks!

    Looking forward to your review of the Signed, Sealed, and Delivered book. I'm doing the postal reading challenge and this might be perfect for it!

  6. Iliana - I love that the notes/questions are about content.

    I'd wait for the final publication on Signed, Sealed, Delivered; the formatting is awful in this ARC. But I did get it from NetGalley, so you may still be able to get this early proof.